The year was 1927 when Joseph R. Wagner, then an 18 year old immigrant from Germany, arrived in New York. With a limited proficiency of the English language and mere pocket change, Wagner worked his way across the country to a small Midwest community with a strong German heritage and a friendly atmosphere…Elmhurst. On York Road in 1931, Wagner opened the doors to his very own fur and tailor business, York Furrier.
Through economic hard times, with determination and hard work, Wagner’s business not only survived, it prospered. In 1946, the business expanded with the purchase of the building next door. And in 1956, Wagner branched out by adding “mink rancher” to his resumé. At its pinnacle, the Wagner Mink Ranch yearly raised over 10,000 mink and was instrumental in the creation of the rich blue-brown color of Lunaraine mink, still popular today.
Wagner’s sons, Richard and Joseph, bought the business in 1971, while he continued on as consultant. With the purchase of the building to the north, the brothers expanded the business in 1976. The 1980’s ushered the third generation of the Wagner family into the business and under their guidance, new operations and product lines were introduced.
In 2000, with the start of the new millennium, the third generation, John Rezny, Kathy Rezny, and John Wagner, purchased York Furrier. And, in 2001, prior to celebrating the store’s 70th Anniversary, the trio of co-owners opted to completely make-over the store’s showrooms. Inspired by the chic boutiques in Milan, Italy, they selected rich cherry wood to ensconce the York Collection of furs and fine outerwear.
In the past several years, York Furrier has grown via competitor acquisition and location expansion. In spring 2004, York Furrier was entrusted with the Berwyn based Javurek Furs client list. While in December 2004, York opened a second full-service location in a northwest suburban lifestyle mall, the Deer Park Town Center. The store has successfully become an integral part of the Barrington area community by providing fur and fine outerwear fashions for runway shows and philanthropic events, along with membership in the local chamber. In Spring 2006, York Furrier absorbed the Oak Park based Abrahamson Furrier client list. And, in 2010, Mr. John O’Brien, founder of West Dundee based O’Brien and Sons Fur, Inc., retired after six decades in business. Wishing that his cherished clientele would be well taken care of, Mr. O’Brien sent a letter to personally refer each customer to York Furrier.
As York Furrier celebrates its 85th Anniversary, John and Kathy Rezny along with the entire York Furrier Staff and Design Team will continue to provide you with Chicagoland’s premiere inventory of exceptional furs and fine outerwear styles. We will continue to travel the globe and work with designers and our own craftsmen to ensure both quality merchandise and exquisite styling. We will again offer a complete line of professional, on-premise services including: storage, cleaning, repairs and even restyling of older garments. And, though through the decades we’ve greatly expanded our facilities, staff, operations, and client list, we pledge to still adhere to the core values of York Furrier founder, Joseph R. Wagner; ensuring that client satisfaction remains our top priority. With a friendly and knowledgeable staff, the York Furrier hallmark will always be Personalized Service!